Turkey police blamed for deaths in custody

BISENG ANIK and Kesan Ali were both 16 when they were arrested by police in Turkey last year. There was nothing unusual about that, since hundreds of people, some of them children, have been picked up and held in custody in recent months on suspicion of dissident political views.

What made them different was that both, apparently, committed suicide a few days later. Anik, according to the governor of Sirnak, in south-east Turkey, shot herself with a gun she happened to find under a bed in the room in which she was being held.

Sixteen people have died while in police custody in the past year - six of them, say the police, by committing suicide. Apart from Anik and Ali, there is a third youngster, a 13-year-old schoolboy whose name has not been disclosed. He died, it seems, after a nervous breakdown in his cell. The other suicides are Nurettin Aslan, who jumped from an eighth-floor landing; Burhan Serikli, who managed to hang himself with his blindfold, and Ramazan Altunsoz, who battered himself to death with an iron bar.

All these deaths took place during periods of interrogation at police stations. The bodies of those returned to their families showed distinct bruises and wounds. Police say the suspects fell over, hitting their heads, or that they suffered brain clots or heart attacks. A healthy 80-year-old, Mehmet Yilmaz, had a sudden, fatal rise in his blood pressure. For relations the deaths spell only one thing: torture, most of it by beating.

The deaths of these 16 people are all the more significant because they took place in the months following a promise by the Prime Minister, Suleyman Demirel, to end torture. A new legal reform bill, passed by the parliament in November, specifically forbids torture and states that a prisoner may consult with a lawyer at every stage of detention.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - ASP.Net, C#

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business IT support compan...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Manager / New Product Manager

£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company mission is to be th...

Recruitment Genius: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project